How my business started on Etsy
I have a lot to thank Etsy for as it’s where my Lylia Rose business first began. Without Etsy who knows, perhaps I would never be working for myself today. My business may never have begun and grown into a full time career. Of course I never blogged on Etsy which is what my main business is today, but originally I started selling handmade cards there. This was back in 2012 after I’d had my first baby. I was bored on maternity being stuck at home by myself and needed a hobby. I never had a hobby back then and so decided to try and make some handmade cards. It kept me occupied, but I had nowhere to store all these cards or be able to use them all as there were so many!
I’d heard good things about Etsy from a work colleague that was into homemade and unique items. I checked out the platform based on her recommendation and it seemed the perfect place to sell my cards. At first I just told a few family members about my shop and some even ordered from me! There was nothing quite like the buzz of hearing my phone ding with a sale, even if it was only family and friends at first!
It didn’t take long to receive orders from random shoppers on Etsy and this was even more thrilling. I was hooked! I absolutely loved selling my items on Etsy even if at first it was only to cover the cost of the materials – a hobby business if you will. After making cards galore I wanted to try my hand at something else, so started making jewellery. I stocked up on beads, chains and charms and made an assortment of bracelets, earrings, rings and necklaces.
Whilst baby was napping or happily playing I would crack on with my Etsy shop venture by making items to sell, taking photographs and listing them on Etsy. It gave me something to do that was for me and so I didn’t just feel like a mum. I had a hobby to focus on.
Little did I know I’d go on to turn it into a profitable business, set up my own website, start blogging and eventually make a full time income from it!
A buying and selling community
I have to say I was surprised when I got sales on Etsy. It’s such a huge platform that I assumed I’d just blend into the masses and not attract any buyers at all, or that they’d even find me. It was amazing to be able to generate sales on the platform as well as get my name out there. Though I don’t have any listings in my store today, I am keeping the shop in case I ever decide to return. That’s one beauty of Etsy as you only pay a listing fee and selling fee. There are no other costs involved such as a monthly contract.
I loved the community feel of Etsy. I have also been a buyer on Etsy for over six years and most of the businesses I buy from are so friendly and personal. The only marketplace platform I had previously purchased from was eBay where most of the sellers never contact a buyer or send a cut’n’paste message. On Etsy it is different. Most of the times I’ve ordered I have been sent a personalised message from the seller to update me on the order and thank me. They are not big corporations and their small individual or micro businesses are their livelihood. They care about their products and their customers. Plus the items are handmade so they are very passionate about them.
The reasons why people love to support micro businesses on Etsy
A company called Seareach have recently published some interesting research into why people shop at Etsy by surveying over 1000 online shoppers. There are some really interesting results which begin with only 30% having purchased anything from Etsy. I find that quite amazing as I did think it would be higher. Only 16% had not heard of Etsy at all, so perhaps the rest just hadn’t got round to buying anything yet!
Here are their findings:
As a buyer my main reason to shop there is for personalised items. I especially love ordering a personalised baby card whenever there’s a new-born in our friends or family. I know most people keep their baby’s birth cards so I like to try and get an extra special one if I can. My cousin even kept the one I sent for her son and framed it on his nursery wall. She was so impressed it was a papercut with his name and birth date! With this in mind it doesn’t surprise me that the reason for 58% of people to shop there is for a unique and personalised item. It really is the best place to find the perfect gift that’s not mass made and really is individual.
Other reasons include:
- Their selection of independent sellers – 40%
- Selection of items for sale – 33%
- Prefer to shop from independent sellers rather than chain stores – 10%
- Niche items available – 2%
It’s great to see that people love to shop with independent sellers and support micro businesses or even ‘kitchen table businesses’. At first my business started on the dining room table or perched on my bed whilst kneeling on the floor. Luckily I now have a proper office desk and chair! I’d definitely much rather support an indie business over a commercial giant! It seems that a lot of other online shoppers feel the same.
As more and more people continue to set up their own businesses in this way I think the popularity of Etsy will skyrocket. It was only once I started my own business that I then understood what it truly meant to support a similar business and thus started changing some of my shopping habits. With internet shopping booming and people now able to buy goods online that they’d only previously get at a handmade fair, it makes it so much more convenient for shoppers to find these ‘made with love’ items.
So if you’ve never visited Etsy then pop there now for a good look around whilst supporting the makers. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.